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This Issue Report describes those processes involving the extraction or harvesting of wood and timber products from native forests. Firewood is reviewed separately (see the Firewood Collection and Usage Issue Report).
The Native Forests Issue Report focuses entirely on the harvesting of wood and timber products from native forests. Land clearance is defined to include the removal of native forest and non-forest native vegetation communities where a substantial and, generally, irreversible loss of native vegetation occurs. Clearance of native vegetation is reviewed in the Land Clearance Issue Report. Examples include the clearance of land because of inundation through dams, urban development, 'improved' pasture, cropping, and plantation development. This approach is consistent with definitions of clearance outlined by Kirkpatrick and Mendel (1999).
Native forests consist of tree and understorey species that are native to Tasmania. They are complex and diverse ecosystems comprising communities of species, fungi, insects and fauna, and the relationships between them. The RFA classifies 50 individual forest communities. They include mature (including old-growth), regrowth and regeneration forest. Elements of native forest also include sclerophyll/eucalypt forest and forest that may not have a direct commercial forest harvesting interest, such as, non-eucalypt forest and grassy woodlands. Native forests do not include plantations, even though the species planted (such as blue gum Eucalyptus globulus) may be native.
Tasmanian forests are highly productive in terms of wood production. In 1999 they produced 70% of Australia's decorative veneers, as well as 50% of Australian produced printing and writing paper, and 57% of newsprint production. Other products harvested from Tasmania's native forests include: firewood, raw seed, nectar, honey, cut flowers, treeferns, and sphagnum moss. Harvesting statistics for 2000-01 include: 468,500 m3 of native eucalypt sawlogs; 27,400 m3 of other native sawlogs; and 1,712 kg of raw seed. The most currently available statistics for pulpwood production were for 1999-00 when 4,735,000 tonnes of pulpwood was harvested from native forests. Between 1996-00, the volume of woodchips harvested from native forest increased by 73%. Annual honey production remained relatively constant at 1,000 tonnes.
This 'At a glance' section provides an overview of forests and forest harvesting. More detailed information is available in the Native Forests Issue Report. More detailed assessments of forestry activities are also available through the Background Report: Inquiry on the Progress with the Implementation of the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement (RPDC 2002), Forest Practices Board Annual Reports, and State of the Forests Reports prepared by Forestry Tasmania and the Forest Practices Board. Much of the following information is sourced from these reports.
Indicators are presented that provide an overview of products harvested, extent and condition of native vegetation, area of native forest available for timber production, and reservation (see Indicators).
Contact the Commission on: email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (03) 6233 2795 (within Australia) Fax: (03) 6233 5400 (within Australia) Or mail to: RPDC, GPO Box 1691, Hobart, TAS, 7001, Australia
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2006
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